Blade to the Heat, Public Theater
29 x 44 in. (74 x 112 cm)
Paula Scher (1948-) is one of the most influential and celebrated graphic designers in the United States and internationally. Scher found success in the early part of her career designing album covers, and she became known for her expressive and illustrative use of typography. Scher has been a partner at Pentagram in New York since 1991. Her logos and identity systems for both arts organizations and large corporations are some of the most recognizable in the world.
In 1994, the director of New York’s Public Theater invited Scher to design posters for the theater's upcoming season. The remarkable silkscreened posters for that season, including this striking example for a play about a boxer, launched an iconic and still-active collaboration between Scher and the Public. Her design responsibilities soon expanded to include the Public’s entire graphic identity.
Scher based the typography for her Public posters on American wood type, applied in various weights to create added interest. She looked to the Russian Constructivists for inspiration as well, particularly the movie posters of Vladimir and Georgii Stenberg, applying a similar visual language of bold flat colors and diagonal compositions to create dramatic effects.
For a fascinating in-depth account of Scher’s work for the Public Theater, take a look at her recent book, 25 Years at the Public: A Love Story.